Thanks for writing this piece, Josh Gellers. I think the notion of “fear” as a motivator is vastly underrated. Gerrymandering and other voter suppression tactics aside, it seems nothing gets people to suddenly care about politics and come out to vote more than fear. And I think you hit the nail on the head with the idea that the 2016 election was based on the specific fear of losing one’s (majority or privileged) status.

I also attribute it to people having willful ignorance — judging others (but especially minorities, like BIPOC, or the LGBTQ community) as being abnormal or morally wrong — without even bothering to learn about them.

Although for many trump supporters, I think all of this is really more of an unchecked, subconscious fear.

A piece I wrote a while back touches on many of the same themes that you did. Here’s one excerpt sort of summing up that notion of fear and “the unknown:”

How’d we end up with Trump? Unrealized fears, largely by folks who have never before had to worry about being a “minority.” Folks pining for a past that exists largely (perhaps only) in their minds. Folks who practice insular dogmas and active avoidance of different ideas, people, and ways of life. MAGA snake oil is their brand, and by golly, they swear by it. Sadly, even four years into this circus, the peanut crunching crowd remains blindly loyal to their brand.

The question that plagues me is how so many otherwise intelligent people got so thoroughly conned. It was (and is) beyond me. trump has a long-documented history of being a horrible person. A fraud, failure, racist, misogynist, sexist, abuser, con, cheat, swindler, and shady “business” man. I’ve often thought that a lot of folks who watched “The Apprentice” must’ve believed trump was actually the character he played (failing to realize that “reality TV” is anything but).

The evidence of his lifelong incompetence is well-documented and publicly available. I’ll never understood why people chose to not see it.

At any rate, for about 2 years I’ve been saying trump will “win” again, not by popular vote by any stretch — he’ll lose the popular vote far more than he did in 2016 — but he’ll win because of the very thing he and his supporters hate so much: cheating, conning, and corruption. Don’t forget the huge role that Russia (among others, like Cambridge Analytic, Facebook, and Fox News) played in the years leading up to the 2016 election.

Dismantler of gender norms. Political news junkie. TikTok aficionado. Mom of 3. Work seen/heard @ HuffPost, Scary Mommy, NPR, SiriusXM, LTYM, TIFO podcast, etc.

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